This Hugo-nominated work is a classic of Niven's Known Space saga.
Phssthpok the Pak had been traveling for most of his thirty-two thousand years. His mission was to save, develop, and protect the group of Pak breeders sent out into space some two and a half million years before.
Brennan was a Belter, the product of a fiercely independent, somewhat anarchic society living in, on, and around an outer asteroid belt. The Belters were rebels, one and all, and Brennan was a smuggler. The Belt worlds had been tracking the Pak ship for days, and Brennan figured to meet that ship first.
He was never seen again - at least not by those alive at the time.
©1973 Larry Niven (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Yes. Tom Weiner does a fine job of adding emotion to much of the dialog.
Nothing comes to mind. Like Niven's Ringworld, Protector has a unique concept that captures imaginations, and never lets go.
The Pak character and Brennan-Monster were both highly entertaining.
Oh yes. I'm a pretty fast reader, so I'd have finished a real book in one sitting. But I savored Weiner's narration too much to hurry it by speeding up the playback.
Protector is yet one more in the superlative Known Space collection of books by Larry Niven that were written last century. It has all the qualities that make those books so special: sense of wonder, optimism, humor, and unpredictability (as opposed to, say, John Scalzi's works that have become increasingly predictable).
Was fun to listen to during commute. Novel was pure Niven, Enjoyed story again.
Very descriptive and romantic version of interstellar flight and war.
What if the normal effects of human aging (hair loss, arthritis, tooth loss, supposed loss of sex drive) were really part of a design to create a superhuman "adult" to protect the earlier, more vulnerable stages of humanity? And what if we could discover how to make it work?
These stories (there are really 2 stories combined into a single narrative) were the first time Larry Niven played with his idea of the Pak---an ancestor species to early hominids---and the Protectors who transform into ideal thinking and fighting machines who guard their bloodline. What happens if, in the future, space-faring humans encounter the Pak? What if humans could turn into Protectors?
It was an interesting thought experiment, and it turned into a powerful idea, one that Niven revisits multiple times in some of his later "known space" novels (e.g. Ringworld Engineers and Destroyer of Worlds). If you plan to read these books (or you have and are puzzled by the Pak backstory, this is the place for answers).
While the idea of the Protectors are an interesting one, the story around it is relatively bland. There is a lot of exposition on the nature of the Protectors but the actual action is rather thin.
So, if you like an interesting thought experiment or want more backstory on the Pak, this is worth picking up.
Tom Weiner is a very good narrator and he does a very good job here.
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